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Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Tales of the Kitchen Princess 2. Dueling Etiquettes: Mrs. Mogi takes on the Occupationnaires 3. The Housewife Debate of 1955 4. What Women Want: The Postwar Appetite 5. Fashioning the People's Princess: Shoda Michiko and the Royal Wedding of 1959 6. Japan's Miss Universe: Beauty Contests and Postwar Democracy 7. From the Housewife's Kitchen to the Witches' Den: Fantasies of Female Power in Enchi Fumiko's Masks Bibliography Index

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Analyses the personae of the housewife as a representation of democracy, abundance and domesticity in postwar Japan.

About the Author

Jan Bardsley is Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA.


[This] valuable book ... will be a great read for both students and scholars of postwar discourses on gender in Japan. * Journal of Japanese Studies *
Richly evidenced and engrossing ... This volume provides the reader with an insightful and well researched analysis of gender roles and discussions in post-war Japan, and is a welcome addition to the literature. * English Historical Review *
[T]his a fascinating book that offers a compelling look at how the 'Japanese housewife' was mobilized in debates over postwar democracy. It will be of great interest to those who study postwar Japanese women's history and literature. * Japan Forum *
The richness and variety of the book's sources, and the consistently high level of Bardsley's analysis across multiple textual and visual genres, make her account convincing, informative, and even entertaining ... Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan is an engaging and intellectually stimulating piece of scholarship that will enhance discussions on the history of Japan's Allied Occupation and of postwar Japan, on gender in modern Japan and in Cold War politics, and on the cultural dimensions of U.S.-Japan relations. * Monumenta Nipponica *
Through close readings of popular media-from contentious letters to newspaper editors to debates covered in women's magazines, from tales of flawed fashionistas to satirical cartoons-Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan takes an innovative approach to the gender politics shaping Japan in the 1950s. Jan Bardsley effectively challenges the notion that the liberation of Japanese women was primarily the result of the American occupation of Japan after World War II. In addition, her analysis of the media construction of housewives, princesses, and beauty queens places Japan's postwar era squarely in the geopolitics of the Cold War. Accessible and provocative, Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan will be a very useful book for classes in gender studies in a variety of disciplines. * Barbara Molony, Professor of History, Santa Clara University, USA *
In Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan, Jan Bardsley invites us into a dynamic world of post-WWII Japan where the process of "democratization" initiated by American occupiers has unleashed a series of events and controversies involving women, homes, and nation. Offering fascinating tales of "Kitchen Princess," "Beauty Queen," "Real Estate Siren," and "Desiring Women," all of whom enlivened the Cold War Japan with their womanly determination and domestic ingenuity, Bardsley gives us an enchanting moment to re-imagine Japan in a manner far more complex and nuanced than ever attempted before. Against the backdrop of constitutional reform, gender democratization, and domestic modernization, Japanese women were historical agents of exceptional complexity, whose sentiments and practices hardly if ever followed any predictable route. Re-introducing women and the home to the center stage of the postwar Japanese history, Bardsley's book charts a new territory of analysis where richness of archival research is coupled with deftness of storytelling to reward its readers. * Mire Koikari, Associate Professor, Women's Studies, University of Hawaii, USA *

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